Old wise guys don't die; they just wheeze away.
In Michael Dinner's THE CREW, Joey "Bats" Pistella (Burt Reynolds), Bobby
Bartellemeo (Richard Dreyfuss), Mike "The Brick" Donatelli (Dan Hedaya) and
Tony "The Mouth" Donato (Seymour Cassel) are four old geezers who call
themselves the Crew and who used to be made men in the mob, but now they're
slowly dying of boredom in the rusty, run-down Raj Mahal Hotel on a beach in
Friends since childhood, they were used to living together in the laps of
luxury as consummate criminals. "You said the good times were going to last
forever," Bats complains. "I thought we'd be dead by now," Bobby tells him.
Now in their declining years, they have been relegated to working minimum
wage jobs to earn enough to the pay the rent. Apparently, the investments
of the mob's pension fund must have gone sour. The hot-tempered Bats works
in the fast food industry as an order taker at Burger King, not exactly a
job well suited for his fiery demeanor. "Lady, I know what the commercial
says, but special orders do upset us," he angrily tells one customer who
dares suggest adjustments in her burger's preparation.
A rise in the rents gives them just the opportunity they need to put a
little of the old zest back into their lives. Figuring that the rents will
go down if someone is murdered in their hotel, they decide to shoot a corpse
from the morgue, where The Brick works. Worse than the gang that can't
shoot straight, the Crew can't even bring themselves to plug an already dead
The man does end up shot, and the Crew gets a drug lord and his gang after
them in the process. In addition, Detective Olivia Neal (Carrie-Anne Moss
from THE MATRIX) starts investigating the murder. Moss, in an underwritten
role, turns in one of the film's best performances. Neal makes mincemeat of
her fellow cop and former lover, Steve Menteer (Jeremy Piven). Suffice it
to say that you don't want to mess with her feet.
In low-cut dresses that make her breasts look like huge cantaloupes, Ferris
(Jennifer Tilly) is a member of "the leisure profession." Reeking humorous
sleaze, Ferris hires the Crew to whack her stepmom, played by Lainie Kazan.
This geriatric group and their colorful fellow travelers come up with
several nice laughs and funny scenes, but too often the jokes themselves are
nearly dead. Writer Barry Fanaro (KINGPIN) just doesn't come up with quite
enough good stuff for me to be able to recommend the picture.
Older audiences, however, will likely be as pleased with it as were my
parents. Based on the volume of their laughter, the line that resonated
with them the most was: "As you get older things that happened 30 years ago
seem realer than things that happened today."
THE CREW runs 1:30. It is rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence and
language and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 11, said that the movie was pretty good and gave it **
1/2. He complained, correctly, that the film's trailers give away the best
Copyright © 2000 Steve Rhodes